A brilliant compilation of Radha Raman’s tunes
The album "Radha Ramaner Gaan" won in the Best Folk Music (Loko Sangeet) category for the year 2008 at the recent 5th Citycell Channel i Music Awards.
Featuring songs of the Sylheti folk composer and poet, Radha Raman Dutt, The album was brought out by Bishwajit Roy. It is also the debut album of the artiste.
Bishwajit Roy is an accomplished Nazrul singer and has trained at Chhayanaut. Among his gurus are Mithun Dey and Sanjib Dey. Bishwajit is also the founder director of cultural organisation 'Nibedon', and general secretary of Bangladesh Sangeet Sangathan Shamonnoy Parishad.
Talking about the award, Bishwajit Roy said, "I see this as a recognition of Radha Raman Dutt and our folk music on the whole.
“His songs are not only popular in Sylhet but also in the adjacent areas like Maulvibazar, Comilla and Mymensingh.”
Roy was born in Fandauk village in Brahmanbaria.
"In our village, we used to do have Bhor Kirtan performances. It's a traditional performance, where the women of the village would gather and perform Radha Raman's songs. It would start from 3 am and continue till 12 noon," said Bishwajit.
"At the weddings, locals perform Radha Raman's Geet and Dhamail songs," he added.
"My mother Suruchi Bala Roy used to regularly take part in the Kirtan; she was an ardent admirer of Radha Raman, and used to sing his compositions in her leisure," said Bishwajit.
"When I was a child, these songs made very little sense to me. As I grew up I hardly had any interest in the songs but all that changed in my university days when I came across 'Sri Krishna Kirtan' (of the legendary medieval poet Baru Chandi Das). I was deeply moved by the profound narratives. It generated a keen interest in our rural music. It was from this point I started to rethink Radha Raman's compositions.
"In 2002, Nasiruddin Yousuff became the president of Shammilito Shangskritik Jote (SSJ) and he made an announcement to provide financial assistance from SSJ to individuals willing to work on folk performing art forms. I approached Nasiruddin Yousuff and told him about my interest in Radha Raman's songs."
"From 2003 I started making occasional trips to various places in Sylhet and neighbouring areas in search of Radha Raman compositions. I collected nearly 250 songs from Habiganj, Sunamganj, Jagannathpur, Dirai, Srimangal, Shayestaganj, Maulvibazar and other areas, from individuals, local folk groups and artistes," Bishwajit informed.
"I selected eleven songs and started recording the album in 2004. It was complete in July 2005."
Songs featured in the album are: "Amarey Ashibar Kotha Koiya", "Orey O Roshik Naiya", "Kala-e Poranti Nilo", "Aaj Kenorey Pran-er Shubol", "Piriti Bishom Jala", "Amar Ontorey Tusher-i Onol", "Joley Jaio Nago Rai", "Ami Jaar Karoney Brindabon-erey", "Pashan Monrey Bujhaiyo" and "Ashbey Shyam Kaliya".
Even though the recording was complete in 2005, it took another three years for the album to be finally released. Bishwajit said, "The production companies are often reluctant when it comes to albums by new artistes." The album was produced by Commitment Products and presented by Laser Vision.
Speaking of his future plans, Bishwajit informed, "Currently I'm working on a second album featuring more Radha Raman songs. I hope to release it in the coming Pahela Baishakh.
"I wish to continue working on Radha Raman Dutt's timeless compositions and promote his music throughout the country.”